Metuh And The Need For Caution,By Danlami Nmodu

Olisa_MetuhInitially, he seemed like a very effective, even efficient spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP. And Nigerians liked to get his reaction to topical issues. Especially, so when he issued statements in reaction to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria,ACN and the equally defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.That was then. The PDP spokesman has turned fully away from what I think is the path of moderation and reason. This has become all the more so with the emergence of the All Progressives Congress, APC
This is not a piece motivated out of the need to attack Olisa Metuh, the national publicity of PDP.No! I believe he is a very energetic man doing his job .Not well, in my view. Iam worried about the position he is canvassing in recent times.He seems to be giving the impression that his party the PDP is determined to play the religious card. I feel seriously worried about this and I believe every right thinking Nigerian should join the campaign against religious campaign.You may ask, why pick on Metuh and not the party itself?
Why Metuh? He is the party’s spokesman and the main image maker. More significantly, he is the chief communicator and if you like the chief mobiliser. His statement or press releases are as powerful as those from the seat of power. He is the party’s main contact person with the Nigerian public.
All these presuppose that the man is bearing a very heavy burden.And it is a responsibility he must shoulder with tact, sense and sensitivity. He must be a master of public communication ,but he should say things that will strengthen the bond of unity, inspire the people towards giving the best to his party and the country.He must not be seen toying with the faultlines of the country.
Sadly that is what the PDP which Metuh is the all- important spokesman is doing now.It is not clear whether the party has adopted a strategy of campaigning for 2015 solely on the grounds of the opponent’s religion.But the recent attacks on the All Progressives Congress ,APC by PDP are quite disturbing for me as a citizen.
PDP ‘s Metuh some time ago said “the revelations by an Islamic cleric, Ambassador Yusuf Garba and the Religious Equity Promotion Council (REPC) that APC seeks to impose an agenda like the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood remains a fact that cannot be brushed aside.”
It was not surprising that APC charged at PDP .Lai Muhammed ,the APC spokesman fired back:‘’This irresponsible accusation by the PDP that the APC is dividing Nigerians along religious line is a new low even for a party that stands for nothing but incompetence, looting and election rigging. It is an indication that the desperadoes in the PDP will throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into their campaign to stop the wave of change blowing across Nigeria.’’
PDP’s statement likening APC to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood came after PDP had accused APC of having an exco allegedly made of Muslims,an accusation APC has equally dismissed as untrue.
But Metuh was not done yet.On a day APC launched its manifesto, he issued another statement saying APC manifesto was a product of Janjaweed ideology.He then proceeded to infer that there were in fact signs of crisis within APC .The disagreement “played out on the high table today at the party ‘s summit as one of its leaders, Modu Sherif pointedly accused the leadership and the organizers of excluding and marginalizing a section of its founders. With persistent in-fighting at this cradle, how does APC hope unify Nigerians and guarantee the survival of democracy.”
Here is my worry.Metuh has chosen religion,a deliberate attempt to portray Islam as a negative force and he is using this deliberate contraption as his means of campaigning to paint APC as a bad party.Saying that APC is Islamic or that that it is like Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and that Janjaweed ideology is clearly an attempt to profile the party negatively.But it is also a very dangerous venture.What does Metuh stand to gain from this ?If the party accuses APC of lacking federal experience, is that not a strong point?Why must religion and especially a negative attack on Islam be a deliberate party campaign strategy?This is really odd and inexplicable.
Nigeria has witnessed several ethno religious violence .The Bauchi riots, Zangon –Kataf crisis, Kafanchan riots,Kaduna’s Sharia riots,the Tafawa Balewa crisis among others are some of the very bloody ethno-religious crises Nigeria has witnessed.
Even worse, we are still battling with Boko Haram terrorism which has killed Muslims and Christians;burnt churches and mosques and frayed the nerves of the citizens.And given the recent upsurge of the terrorists activities resulting in wanton killing of innocent students among hitherto unheard of atrocities.I believe it is simply not in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerian for any political party to whip up religious sentiment.It is very disturbing that a ruling party’s spokesman will deliberately elect to do this at a time the incumbent government is still battling with an intractable terror group which has used religion as its excuse.
What is even more disturbing is that there has not been any word from senior PDP citizens enjoining caution.Nigeria cannot afford a nationwide religious crisis and the ruling party must not be seen to be condoning any of its officials driving the nation to the precipice.Metuh must stop his religious campaign.It is too dangerous for a country like Nigeria.A word is enough for the wise!

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